Between Death and Life - Chose Life "וּבָחַרְתָּ בַּחַיִּים"
Humanity Creation and Societal Evolvement
Noach Genesis( 6-9 – 11:32) -
General Framework with focus on the Exist from the Deluge- Mabul, and its relevance to our life today, based on few Jewish contemporary Scholars and my own insights/synthetics.
The Scholars whose commentaries and Biblical text are used are:
Rabi Jonathan Sacks, Yeshayahu Leibovich, Rabbi Binyamin Law, Yochi Brandes, BINA Institute. + Rabbi Moshe David Cassuto
The Tora is mainly a STORY about ONE PEOPLE - the ISRAELITE, from Abraham to Moses, and its relationship with God.
However the Tora doesn’t start with this Particular people, but with a set of Universal archetypes of humanity in General :
We all know these stories about:
Adam and Eve, Cain and Hevel, Noah and the Deluge and the builders of Babble Tower.
The THEMES encompassing Humanity’s UNIVERSAL Experience in the 10 generation between Adam and Noah are about:
Risks in life, the freedom to choose ,Temptation and Sin, Brotherly Rivalry, Violence, Hubris and the will to be God-like.
Only in chapter 12th, after this universal introduction, the Tora narrows down the prism, and gets deeper into Berashit - Genesis, and the PARTICULAR stories on:
ONE PERSON - Abraham , One FAMILY and then One Nation and its Jewish Realization.
The Tora is actually telling us a story about 2 COVENANTS - בריתות pertaining to humanity’s Relationship with G-d
1. The first- The Universal one, that was made with Noach -the Hero of our Parsha and all Humanity
2. And the second: The Particular one, the Revelation התגלות made with Abraham and his descendants.
G-d has a General relationship with the UNIVERSE and all mankind and a Special Particular relationship, defining a set of Jewish life, with the Israelite.
After the Story of Kein and Hebel we are introduced to:
3 stories related to Experimental Societal Order
דור הנפילים – The GIANTS Generation. -ערוב
דור המבול – The DELUGE Generation. – . עורב
דור הפלגה/מגדל בבל –BABBLE Tower Generation- . ערבוב
Despite DIFFRENCES in the stories as related to:
their LENGTH or DETAILS, its CONTENT, Clarity or the names of the HEROES, the interaction extent between G-d and humanity, the stories, bear SIMILARITIES :
The stories deal with the question: “How mankind shall live in the created universe”
If G-d created a universe of order, marked as טוב the created humanoid, begins messing it up .. sawing chaos … evil -רע
The perfect “Dream” of creation, concocted in Heaven- בשמיים shuttered against its realistic daily actualization, on Earth - הארץ.
שם - שמיים - Up there.. way above , boundless, abstract illusive notion
ֵארץ - רץ or Ratzon רצון Realization of will, that which "run" down, a concrete tangible
How to maneuver within the GAP between the Utopic Dream and its imperfect/flawed realization in reality, is maybe what is alluded in the verse
"בראשית ברא אלוהים את השמים ואת הארץ”
Mankind walks/travels between the Dream and Reality בין חלום למציאות
All 3 stories convey :
An idea, about some kind of Societal sin/transgression which evokes in G-d a REACTION - some Negative feelings.
Within 6 chapters only, G-D’s Hope and Vision for a Decent Honorable Society is shuttered, and (6/5) G-d וינחם ויתעצב is disappointed with its creation, experiencing Regrets and Sadness with humanity.
Furthermore Humanity’s perverse capabilities are experienced, by the All Mighty, as a THREAT resulting in some INTERVENTION outcome.
The negative feelings, invoked by creation’s failed experimental effort, reveals the range/ extant of God’s WRATH/ fury
1. Who were The Gaints - The first story:
(Genesis 6) tells us that- החל האדם לרב על פני האדמה
In those days Mankind started expanding on Earth
which is actually a fulfillment of G-d directive "Be fruitful and multiply" -פרו ורבו
So what is the problem?
Chapter 6 verses (1-10) just before The Parsha of Noach begins, we are informed, via few very short verses that
“ Benai Haelohim” - ”The sons of G-d” saw the “ Bnot Haadam” -"Daughters of Adam," to be “TOVOT - “fair -good, and - took - לקחו whoever they “Bacaru CHOSE” for wives” .
This is a mystery story, almost a mythological in essence, about the נפילים NEFILIM a product human linage or strain, about which we can only speculate.
בני האלוהים "Sons of God of an alleged elevated, benign or humble disposition, a
presumably the descendant from the linage of SHET- שת, the third son born to Adam and Eve -AFTER Hevel's murder, started increasing in size.
The linage further expanded through SHET’s son - אנוש, and these “Bnai Enosh” crossed-bread with a human linage/strain named ם בני האדם “Sons of Adam” - the descendant presumably, from Kain linage, of the murderous reputation.
So we have 2 linages - Bnai Adam - from prior to the murder, and Bnai Enosh - Enoshut -Humanity, born after, when then a realization was sensed, by this linage, that there is some divine Power, conceptually, above mankind, as related to the process of pro-creation. (’התהלך עם האלוהים’, הוחל לקרוא בשם יהוה 4/26
"God gave me" - (passive)
כי שת לי אלוהים זרע אחר תחת הבל כי הרגו קין 4/25
"I made a human with G-d G-d" (active)
קניתי איש את יהוה 4/1
The story tells about some kind of Sin -related to an unplanned element, in the pro-creation process, actualized, by an abuse of Power - לקחו
Taking- לקחו may imply to seizing something not belonging to one, and against the will, God’s will.
They took because they COULD.. The free spirited boundless, didn’t honor, limits and boundaries.
The conceived Societal cross-breed archetype, who intensified in Numbers and Might is named -Nefilim -The Gainets - The Brave Ones בני השם גיבורים
alludes to some Super-Heros - or Nobel elated creatures, the Powerful mighty ones , as is also being referred to the CANAANITES in the story on the Spies.
is also mentioned in the Book of JOB along with the Satan who appeared in front of G-d - alluding to יצר הרע - the Bad Inclination.
This cross -Breed - ערוב - between humans of 2 different lineages, but deriving from the same architypical parents, a mix of the Adam’s sons via Shet, with the descendants of Cain, angers G-d, as we, also learn later, that the Tora forbids a cross-mix of materials, and type of foods.
G-d criticizes the Giants for lacking in RUCH– רוח
alludes to some kind of a Spiritual Fall - נפל- from an elated sphere, to the earthly bottom, in the context of procreation relationship.
There is a realization by G-d who says that:
MAN can not be judged by רוח - G-d’s Ruch a SPIRITUAL quality, as MAN is an earthling made on Earth , not in Heaven.
Man is ignited and motivate by בשר BASAR - FLESH.
Thus, a Spiritual Failure which characterizes this society, made of individuals who exercise power, failed spiritual aspiration, and functions on their own Flesh interests and urges, causes G-ds alleged disappointment.
G-d reinforces on those lacking in boundaries, a life term limit longevity, to 120 years
Found Only in North Iraq and Egypt. (Book)
2. Noah Generation - The second story
Following the story about the violation of Creation’s Natural Order, things on earth, between human beings gets even worse:
6 /5 Wickedness Intensified
רעת האדם בארץ, כל יצר מחשבות ליבו רק רע כל היום
RA - evil is the human race’s characteristics of the Noach's Generation.
Every deed and inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.
Are human naturally good or naturally bad?
On this big question, great minds have argued for centuries.
Before we get further to the meaning of Ra, in
Chapter 5 /18 Noah, we are told was a son of Lemch via the linage of Adams’s 3rd son Shet - the one with the alleged, less compromised reputation or inclination.
Noah is introduced with great expectations: “He will comfort us” (, says his father Lamech, when naming him (.5/29)
The biblical Explanation to Noah’s parental name giving, mentions the word וינחמנו “ "YENACHAMENU”. Root - נ.ח.מ
Noah’s BIRTH, meant to bring consolation זה ינחמנו a POSITIVE feeling,
THE ONE who will console, redeem, who will bring COMFORT upon us, a remedy to our DEEDS - מעשינו MASENU and to the עצב SADNESS, invoked by the curse of toiling the land.
(Issaya /40-1 Consolation Prophecy) mention the word -נחמו, נחמו עמי in the נבואות הנחמה
So it was hoped that Noah would mitigate for both his parents and God the SADNESS- עצב , as related to the existential life’s reality of burdens/hurdles on earth.
Apparently humans , as G-d need a positive, encouraging, hopeful outlook, a DREAM, to alleviate and lighten the cursed life, prescribed on earth.
When we are told of the REGRETS which consumed G-d for the first creation version model of imperfect sinning human earthlings, the same verb - וינחם VINACHEM - is used but in a NEGATIVE sense - to bemoan, deplore
Both usage of the verb וינחם implies of an upcoming change:
a promise of hope In the positive sense , and
a break of a promise , in the negative one.
At 500 years of age we are told, 3 sons are born to Noa. Ham, Shem and Yefet (6/10)
Noa had a chance to live a LONG LIFE in the PRE-DELUGE universe, during which, humanity expanded to large Societal clusters of distinguished formations.
Later we are told, that AFTER the first experiment in human societal construction of he Giant Generation- דור הנפילים and their defiance of the natural order, MATTERS on earth got really villainous…
The Generation of the Deluge we were told, failed on the choice between doing Good or Evil - טוב או רע, which takes us back to The Tree of Knowledge (2/9)
Apparently, knowledge grows as chaos, incomprehensible chaos, is transformed into order.
In the reality of their Societal dealings choosing to do RA -do evil was habitual.
That word RA keeps repeating. ( 6 /5, ,11 13)
Also the word נשחתה -corrupted ,according to the commentaries, alludes to a nefarious reality, in which all creatures of creation, cross-bred with other non-human species, and thus the planned annihilation of also, all animals.
There is also a mention of the word תשחת הארץ ותמלא חמס, חמס
An unscrupulous Societal Order, full of חמס doers alluding to Violence Unruliness Lawlessness Robbery and Murder, took place
And also the phrase “אלוהים התהלך עם נוח’ implies that excluding Noah , all others “had no G-d” or many idle G-d-s.
By this usage of words, above the story tells us that humans were not naturally good.
This time humanity’s sin was a Moral Failure on 3 accounts summarized later by the sages as:
גילוי עריות, שפיכת דמים ועבודה זרה
Incestuous Relationship, bloodshed and Idol Worship
"The Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him to His heart." Thus G-d intervenes ,
The Intervention implies that:
+God doesn’t put up with the unavoidable way of the created things. מצוי The reality as is.
+There are things humans can do but should avoid
+Humans can be educated on the רצוי – what is more desirable, befitting, appropriate.
G-d rejects a formulated evil social order, and serves as the role model to humans, made in his image, to also do the same. This is rejecting determinism.
Humans were given the freedom via קין Cain story, that they can either control violent urges or succumb to them.
There must be Moral Responsibility in society " מצווה התורה "ונשמרת מכל דבר רע
Society that doesn’t restrain its urges/impulses in dealing with its human fellow members, especially as related to the weakest in the society, is considered doing and being RA - evil, and thus its right to life get lost
We keep learning in Tora’s last book - Devarim In parasht כי תצא 22/ 19-
mention of בערת הרע -extract-from among you all evil, in a connotation to problematic sexual unions defiling women's honor.
Thus the Covenant concept is introduced disclosing the idea of a Moral Law.
A moral law is not the same as a Scientific law.
Scientific laws are observed regularities in nature: drop an object and it will fall.
A moral law is a rule of conduct: do not rob or steal or deceive.
Moral laws help us to decide .
Scientific laws describe, whereas Moral Laws prescribe.
Morality is universal. Our universal humanity precedes our religious differences.
The Torah places God’s covenant with Noah and through him with all humanity, prior to his particular covenant with Abraham.
At this Genesis stage-
G-d’s response to the invoked Negative feelings of regrets and disillusion with its creation’s first Prototype is quite radical. revengeful bloodshed,
Instead of a more dispassionate reaction, G-d resorted to obliterate,- a final solution
God, deleted the first creation by bringing a flood, returning the earth to as it was, at the very beginning when “the earth was formless and empty” - No Dream nor Vision
G-d then began, again with Noah and his family. A new start Up dream and new hopes
Only later with the mention of the covenant, we learn of how also God had evolved/ and changed his conduct…as to achieve SOCIAL CHANGE .
Applying hateful measures to eradicate hateful deeds, is not a sustainable strategy...
The story, would have had ended here, with all dead, however we are told, in 6 /8
that there was ONE MAN. named “NOACH who was to G-d liking” -מצא חן, and this one earthling managed to penetrate G-d’s revengeful tough heart... as so the never-ending story of humanity saga could continue to evolve, and be retold..
What is in the Name Noach? What is it implying?
Root - נ.ו.ח
Docile, tamed, compliant, agreeable, complacent, lax , one that goes along, comfortable, convenient, easy Going, laid back, kind of a Harmless, innocuous human being - לא מזיק
This mutative social specie/type, in his generation, is described as צדיק תמים בדורותיו התהלך עם האלוהים - walked with G-d.
Noah - “the tamed liked one” and his household, were picked up from among a litter of earthlings’ pack of wolves , to be saved and to repopulate, the obliterated universe, with a more domesticated docile earthlings.
What ever is meant by the phrase “Walked with G-d” which pleased God, and made G-d, like Noah, STILL when compared to Avraham - the revolutionary argumentative protestor, (remember Sedom) who actively fulfilled the לך לך , it is clear from the text’s wording, that by his innate docile mutative nature, Noah was made of a pleasing compliant DNA disposition .
Chapter 6 (22) Chapter 7 ( 5) repeat: So Noach did as directed by G-d.
ויעש נוח ככל אשר צווה אותו אלוהים כן עשה
כן עשה. Emphasized.
Though Noah might have been a "righteous" man, he was not a hero.
Noah does not save humanity. He saves only himself, his family and the animals he took with him into the ARK - to the TEVA a Rescue Vessel which he builds, to specifications.
The Ark - Teva itself is a Floating Zoo
Conceptually it can be viewed as a Portable Genetic library , or a Deep Freeze seamen Bank, a Container Barge, on which life creation, during the catastrophic deluge, was put onto a frozen mode.
Its cargo intended to re-populate, the re-created universe, of the post deluge era, with expected human Beta version.
Strangely enough, the human Noach, whose nature was NOT to “stir up the water”, and whose failure to take responsibility for others, only diminished him, was the ONE dispatched onto the flood’s stormy currents, as to realize a magnanimous task:
Extend Life לחיות זרע Here we are reminded of "The tree of life".(2/9)
Why would the All Mighty G-d, who so much detested the first human created version, let mankind survive and populated the universe with the existing DNA Sample, is a puzzling question.. ?
G-d’s Dream and HOPE that Noah would strive, and G-d’s sticking to a “damaged model” is an illogical decision. Yet it was executed, and such similar hopeful, but faulty expectations would be repeated by earthlings, for generations to come.
Noah as Abraham, started a journey invoked by God’s commend.
One Sailed the other Walked, but the OUTCOME of these journeys, for each one of them, and for humanity, was very different.
Noah after the Mabul- Deluge
There is much more to say about Noah , the Teva- Ark , Mabul - Deluge. It covers so many topics . Yet I will skip the entire details about how the Ark was built, its measurements, and how many animals came aboard.
I would like to zoom in and delve into the End of the deluge, מבול and what happened to the anti-hero Noach of the Parasha.
After many months of sailing inside the ARK and after the earth was physically wilted, and cleansed, the story's focus diverts onto the EXIT experience, the COMING OUT from the Deluge.
Chapter -8 - describes the subsiding of the water , the Raven and the Dove and how Noah is actually cajoled to venture out of the Ark, and into a desolate universe, after almost a year of surreal sailing.
Coming out of the Mabul -Deluge, is equated by contemporary interpreters, with surviving and coming out of the Shoa- Holocaust.
The entire OLD pre-deluge universe, the way Noach intimately was familiar with, was completely eradicated, liquidated : חרבו פני האדמה .The face of earth was wiped-out
Chapter 7 ends with : וימח את כל היקום
In opposite of the universe creation, the entire universe got wiped out - man, beast poultry were all deleted, all was obliterated. Only the ARK and its live Cargo was left.
Noah saw and experienced a populated vaibrant WORLD which vanished. A most traumatic encounter with total loss. And then allegedly would see the re-created one.
It is a very realistic experience of the human condition
So what do we have upon the Exit?
Chapter 8 (1) starts with the : ויזכור אלוהים
And God remembered …. We are after Rosh Hashana, and heard this word.
Usually the world ויזכור Vizkor -is mentioned in conjunction to unavoidable catastrophic events, and like a ray of light, this word flickers, after experiencing ultimate darkness.
God finally create a dam to ויסכרו מעינות תהום to stop the earthly flow of water, and ויכלא הגשם מן השמים the rain got locked up like in prison..
Almost an entire year passed, half a year of rain and another half of the water inflating and deflating.
On the 7th month The ark was Placed/Rested ותנח התיבה על הרי אררט
When G-d created Adam it also says ( וינח ) 2/15. Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden
The same root as Noah- נח name, again alluding to the fragility of Human condition, floating as a bark of wood on the “stormy water currents of the universe”
Then the Ark came to halt on a HIGH mountain with a promise of new beginning.
It took 3 more months for the water to Subside. ( 8/3+5) הלוך וחסור
On the 10th moths the peaks of mountains were seen.
The RAVEN and DOVE symbols
Noah stays another 40 days inside the Ark, prior to opening the Ark’s window, and the first thing he does is וישלח sends out ,on an errand the עורב- Raven -. which comes and go ( ויצא וישוב -( 8/7
The scary hoovering movement and crying noise that this ("unclean" -non kosher) bird makes is terrible, and it dives to feed off Carcasses - symbolize DEATH
RASHI interprets that the bird was sent forcefully and was circling the Ark , full of anger, that it was sent to its death, (only 2 of them) and in protest that the female partner was left behind .The bird was given a VOICE a CRY OUT in protest of the devastation.
And then Noach dispatched off him the יונה - DOVE (8/8)
The Dove couldn't find a footing -Manoah- לא מצאה מנוח ,again the same root as Noach name repeats and the bird returns to the Ark.
Noach extend his hand, takes her and brings her close to him וישלח ידו ויקחה ויבוא אותה אליו
Detailed caring worrying alludes to intimate relation, is the description.
The symbolism in the cross over from the Raven to the Dove is one from from estrangement, alienation Death, to intimacy, closeness, life.
The שליחות SHLICHUT- Dispatch of the Raven fails and the one of the Dove, lubricated with caring, succeeds
And another week passes and the Dove is sent again and returned with Olive Branch in its mouth. A symbol of Truce.
Nature recuperates, re-birth started, and life rejuvenates..
This was enough indication that the water subsided and are of no danger.
YET Noah stayed in for another week .
He finally takes off the Ark’s bolt and the first thing that he sees and smells - desolation and corpses. Dried out land- Earth חרבו פניי אדמה
An Anemic phrase is used in Chapter 8(15) ,וידבר אלוהים
Not ויאמר - Vayomar -G-d said, which so far has been used but instead .
for the first time ever it is וידבר Va-YEDABER Alohim.
Yayomar - is used as a talk of -Monologue
Va-Yedaber - indicate a Dialog between two-some
Why G-d VY-EDABER- וידבר and not ויאמר. VA-YOMAR ?
Is it possible to EXIT from as one enters to such a disastrous catastrophic experience?
How one re-enters the world after a HURBAN - a devastation?
How one re-starts ויחל, re-ignite the dynamic of a new world?
How one recreate life from nothing despite the loss, the smoke and ashes.
But Noah doesn’t talk, throughout the entire story, no voice, no dialog, no arguing, nor defending, or advocating.
The docile/compliant Noach comes out כבוי extinguished human being .
Thus G-d Commends and tells him צא מן התבה GET OUT , continue living and re-populate the universe. It is Time to leave the "sheltered womb" -Ark, and pro–create.
A special attention is given to the ORDER OF ENTERING/EXITING the Ark -
Before entering the Ark (6/18) G-d directive dictates this entry's order of importance:
Noah, his 3 sons , his wife, and his daughters in law.. then all other living creatures,
Upon the actual entry ( 7/7 ) the family entered all Separated by Gender
All male in one capsule - Noah and his sons,
and in another capsule, the females: his wife and the daughters in low.
What is wrong with this image???
The sages taught us that during disasters, man is participating in the sorrow, and no sexual relation are conducted.
The Arc is also a metaphor of an emotional deep freeze evoked by sorrowful circumstances thus no continuation of life occurs.
Upon Exiting: 8 (15) God commends צא - Out with you
You and your wife, Your Sons and their Wives . in COUPLES,
Get out of the deep freeze, back to life re-populate the world, recreate a new world.
Nature may have died, yet human life are bound to continue.
Upon actual Exiting 8 (17)
But Noah exit as he entered in the same capsules :
Him and his sons, his wife and the daughters in Law.
Noah is being dragged out into the vanished world
Noah -the ONLY Survival, wasn't an "EISH Zadik prior to the Deluge, and definitely NOR Tamim", upon being dragged out off the ARK.
Noach re-started life, FIRST, by adding more ניחוח (again נח root) Odor of animal Sacrifice, to the already count and STENCH of the Deluge’s corpses, believing that the butchering act and rotten burning smell of FLESH would please G-d, and furthermore by planting a vine and getting intoxicated.
However, this animal slaughter didn’t please G-d, as we learn from G-d's reaction.
Sadly confirming to oneself, and coming to terms with the already known grave fact, that (21/8) יצר לב האדם רע מנעוריו" Human's evil inclination is innate from youth
To forget his despair, alienation and loneliness Noah started drinking.
Proverb/Mishlai (20/1) quotes - "Wine to the disbarred"
This is Noah after the Deluge - a lessen /diminished human being.
Is this what Noach was designated to do/be once saved?
To get intoxicated? Is this a Zadik Tamim? This is a DRUNK!
Can Noach be blamed?
To what did he came out? Complete void
Not only that he didn’t do, what he could, to save others, besides just himself, thus failed the test of Collective Responsibility, but he also denied humanity of his own seed- זרע the way G-d’s wished and instructed him to repopulate, the after the Deluge's universe.
There were people who came out of the Holocaust and CHOSE to rebuilt their lives from nothing, and other failed, couldn’t make it , couldn’t create the movement back to the new life, thus kept dead man walking.
How can that be judged? Not all are capable to reignite the movement back into life.
There are memories זכרונות that don’t allow one to live.
The alienation is what drowned Noa in wine consumption.
With whom could he recreate the universe?
He could with his sons and wife toward whom he still had the responsibility, the sages tell us. Yet Noach failed. He REFUSED to get back to life, back to his wife, alluding that the universe survival is conditioned upon humans non-existence in it.
Noach ended a broken man, dishevelled, with no courage to be, incapable of restarting a new. The despair dried -out in him, the spirit of Life רוח החיים
As a generation of after the Holocaust, the scholars teach us of the responsibility we all bear to create new life together, to create a community, to be able to carry the burden, NOT to give up.
There is the command “ ובחרת בחיים ”Choose LIFE. That is the spirit of mankind -רוח האדם
Only Noah’s children fulfilled G-d wish and re-populate the universe.
Out of the three sons, one took advantage of the situation, exhibiting indecency toward the exposed drunken naked Noach father. (9/22) While the other two sons, stepped up to the embarrassing, occasion, showing respect and decent behavior by turning their back to their father's drunken nakedness, providing a blanket to cover the fragile discombobulated human being.
2 out of 3 count for DECENCY and COMPASSION , is a more hopeful outcome of humanity's dealings...
The Covenant Made after the Deluge
assured continuation of human life, despite human's imperfections and limitations, which G-d still wouldn't approve of, yet, Gpd came to terms with.
קדושת החיים וחובת הצדק
The Sanctity and victory of life over death, hope over despair and the Duty of Justice, are the core values humans universally are instructed to emulate and fight for.
The 7 Noahide laws which were commanded of the sons of Noahas, traditionally enumerated in the Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 56a-b and Tosefta Avodah Zarah
Not to worship idols.
Not to curse God.
Not to commit murder.
Not to commit adultery or sexual immorality.
Not to steal.
Not to eat flesh torn from a living animal.
To establish courts of justice.
3.The Tower of Babel Generation - The Third Story
is related to mankind advanced technological entrepreneurship, יזמות – of an excessive twist, another extreme, not to G-d’s liking
Noah’s innate compliant nature, which was initially desirable by G-d, and maybe compatible with an intact universe, the story implies, is not compatible with the life ignition and initiative required, to re-start and recreate a new universe, after a disastrous event.
Immersed in a collaborative unified Startup Project of ascension, while applying
God-like- creative powers, initiative and gumption, the attempt of such a society to build a global enormous sky-scraper tower, (the phrase says kol ha’aretz, “the whole earth” (11:1, 8) that would “reach heaven,” shamayim – שמיים- the domain of God, as to perpetuate its name and fame– שם ( G-d name) imply that the sin of the builders of Babel Tower, was that human collaborative efforts were perceived unfavorably, and as a competition - an attempt in becoming G-d-like and eternal. A "Pie in the Sky" Dream
G-d’s initial directive was : Dominate the Land ( 1/28) מלאו את הארץ וכיבשוה
which actually materialized in the building project initiation.
So why was G-d intervention needed?
Harnessing an uniformed universal totalitarian ideology, שפה אחת דברים אחדים
"one language few ideas" on the expense of erasing from the “Other” Individual/ Group its PARTICULAR Cultural Identity, wasn’t to G-d’s liking either.
Whenever a valley/cleave – בקעה a geographical depression is mentioned in the biblical text, like the place the Tower's generation decided to settled in, it alludes to also
a societal/moral inferiority, to juxtapose with a Mountain- הר –a Geographical high elavation, which connotes with , for example, Mt. Sinai and the elevated Tora Giving transforming event.
The will to create a city, with structures built of an innovative bricks made by Kiln's fire technology, ( 11/3) a chemical reaction, by which the bricks assume the proprieties of a stone, explains the analogy of how the transformed row material into uniformed brick format (like the enmeshed one thought) is a product of an ideologicle uniformity worshiped and elated to a substance essence-(11/3) הלבנה לאבן והחמר לחומר
G-d once again felt stressed and threatened by the competition.
Thus G-d's intervention of WILTING the One Universal Language, נבלה שם שפתם
and of stopping this societal cluster off building the city.
The dispersal and scattering of humanity, all over the universe occurred. בלל
Subjecting earthlings, to a multiplicity mixture of languages, separated them distinctively from each other, allowed a Particular Voice to one's own Cultural Identity
G-d's Coming to Terms with Mankind nature
G-d apparently, is still not satisfied with its human creation, which is far from its dreamy version. Humans still sin and expose hubris and megalomania, that angers God, cause him stress and frustration, as well as punitive reaction.
Yet, the All Mighty comes to grips with the inevitable, and G-d’s Temper Tantrum gets under control.
G-d doesn’t ever annihilate the entire humanity again, nor destroys its all encompassing created universe.
The traumatic encounter with Noah, the allegedly צדיק, but more so, a droopy naked drunk, who entered the Ark compliantly, and didn’t try to save the universe, has sobered G-d up, and created a change in G-d itself. Compassion was put into practice.
Before the Deluge God Says – I obliterate אמחה
After the Deluge - Never again -לא אוסיף לקלל את האדמה,לא אוסיף להכות כל חי
The Right for life- לחיות זרע
Chapter 7 /2 tells of the first ברית COVENANT promised to Noach, and his household. 1.The FATE Covenant. the Right to Life - Brit Goral ברית גורל - a UNIVERSAL one, which encompasses all humanity and which according to Rabi Joseph Dov Solovetchic who named the 2 types of covenants, characterized the Jewish nation, along with also
2. Brit יִעוּד- Covenant of Designation - The PARTICULAR Jewish Faith, that was carried on with Abraham.
From the lowest geographical point of the flood water, and the sunken moral depression, Noach's Ark was rescued afloat, and his voyage ended on the highest Mountain’s Top of ARRARAT, with a promise to a reset life and begin new recreation.
Yet, the way Noah exited the ARK was the same as he entered in, males and females separated.
Abraham the particular elected prototype of G-d, started his journey departing one of highest powerful cultural civilizations, of the ancient word, and landed in a small remote, insignificant desolated terrain, yet the CHANGE imprinted in him, and the one he left on the universe was enormously transformational.
Abraham sense of responsibility toward his fellow human being, compelled him to argue with G-d about saving the few righteous.
לא תעמוד על דם רעך היא מצווה המופיעה בתורה (ספר ויקרא, פרק י"ט, פסוק ט"ז)
“Don’t stand idle by the spilled blood of your brother” (Leviticus 15/17) is prescribed
Abraham was also a man of PEACE , who wouldn’t fight with his kin Lot over pasturing land.
And thus, echoing the maturation of a particular individual, the longest project of human’s cultural engineering to construct a more just, responsible, and moral society, via evolvement, and not by a total radical change, has launched, on a particular, scale.
The incremental progress of the Hebrew Civilization, working on Tikun Olam has been in the making, throughout history and to our present time.
In Summary what can be learned from the Parash's stories
+Each represents a step in the Evolvement of both G-d and humanity.
+ Societal Clusters exercise – רצון will power - a manifestation of :רצוי ומצוי
Existing reality is מצוי/יש , but there is a more BEFITTING Reality. וראוי
There is the factual existing reality of societal regressed conduct, and there is according to G-d , a more befitting, appropriate, more deserving ways of relating to one other.
+Torah suggests humans are both Good and Evil, and born to Compete and Co-operate.
+The universe that God made and humans inhabit, is NOT about power or dominance but about Tov and Ra- Good and Evil. Humans have the power to curb the רע in them
+With the given Freedom mankind has the power to respect order or misuse it to create chaos, to construct or destruct, to do Good or do evil.
+There is moral limits of power. We can kill but we may not. We have the power, but not the permission of ultimate usage of it.
+G-d’s creation and humanity progress, are a “realization directed” process, toward what is not yet exist. The future is open to possibilities and depends on us
With the freedom given and within the limitations and risks imposed, Humanity is what it chooses to do and be.
+Society is capable to elevate above an existing natural condition, by creating a Civil Covenant - ברית אזרחית
+Between the will for Power and the will for life, the later will always prevail.
Don’t let a destruction, catastrophe or exile drown you, but don’t let your life make you forget.
+The Rainbow - the GATE OF HOPE , may be an illusion but must be believed in.
Raban Shimon Ben Gamliel, invented the concept:
In every milestone of life , when you choose life say : “ אם אשכך ירושלים”
The principle is, that when a house is built leave wall unfinished in memory of the Temple destruction.
Standing under the HUPA - want to marry and create new life - brake a glass,
That is the BALANCE between the RAVEN (Death) and the DOVE (Life)
Quoting just few verses of this poem below illustrated it best.
Prayer for Messiah / Leonard Cohen
His blood on my arm is warm as a bird
his heart in my hand is heavy as lead
his eyes through my eyes shine brighter than love
O send out the raven ahead of the dove
O break from your branches a green branch of love
after the raven has died for the dove